School board reviews Impact Aid input
Playground relocated for bus rerouteThe Monday night School District 509-J Board of Directors meeting, held at Metolius Elementary, included a review of Metolius programs, two executive sessions on contract negotiations and personnel, and discussion of the recent tribal Impact Aid hearing.
Reviewing the Nov. 28, annual Impact Aid hearing in Warm Springs, it was mentioned that a handful of people spoke at great length, airing wide-ranging personal complaints.
"It was too contentious of a situation, with people lashing out on different topics," said Lauri Danzuka.
Following the hearing, 509-J administrators and tribal education committee members met to discuss how to keep the hearing on track with Impact Aid funds as the topic and focus of comments.
Tribal education committee members suggested setting a time limit for comments in the future, and using a tribal moderator to keep people on track.
Of the comments, Superintendent Rick Molitor said, "We received information on requested uses of Impact Aid funds, and explored improving the position for Native American students -- but not suggestions on what areas to take money away from (to fulfill those requests).
Impact Aid money is paid by the federal government for tribal students and students on North Unit Irrigation property in lieu of property taxes. Property taxes go into the general fund mainly to pay teacher salaries for basic learning such as math, reading, writing, etc.
But people have always had trouble understanding that, Danzuka said.
"You need to give parents something besides `It goes into the general fund,'" she said, noting the Impact Aid regulations state that tribal parents must have a chance to have input on how the funds are used.
Part of the confusion is because Johnson O'Malley funds and Title VII funds both have specific lists of extra things funded just for tribal students.
As a result, tribal parents think Impact Aid funds should be the same way -- just for cultural and extra things, not basic learning.
Danzuka suggested providing tribal parents with a list of activities and learning opportunities that Native American students are involved in at the schools, so parents can see the overall picture of what Impact Aid is used for, and how tribal students are being served.
In a report on 509-J facilities, Darryl Smith, director of operations, said the kindergarten playground at Madras Primary had been relocated in order to build a road to reroute school buses from the elementary to the back of Madras High School. This relieves some of the bus congestion at the Buff Street and McTaggart Road intersection.
Energy audits will be done next week at Madras Primary and Jefferson County Middle School, and improvements will be recommended.
Smith expected the audit to recommend getting rid of the old inefficient boiler system at Madras Primary and installing an HVAC system.
A donation of $4,800 worth of wood chips for school playgrounds was accepted from Bright Wood Corp.
Under personnel, Erin Potampa and Andrew Jackson were hired as SMILE coordinators at JCMS, and Foster Kalama and Becky Dudney as half-time Spanish Club advisors at MHS.
Resignations were accepted from Carrie McPeak as Spanish Club advisor, Butch David as assistant golf coach, and Juanita Payton as assistant girls soccer coach, all at MHS.